Forty Years Later
The Bahama Journal Editorial
We shall – in short order – celebrate this fledgling nation’s fortieth Independence anniversary.
And so, we are today conveniently urged to remember that this nation of ours did some four decades ago have leaders who did dream that this nation of ours would or could be under-girded by a fervent desire for the building of a Bahamas where unity is indivisible – “…a Creation under God of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas…”
Sadly, there now seems a decided drifting away on the part of an untold many from these principles.
In their stead, very many Bahamians in now seem hell-bent on violating the spirit that once animated some of our founding fathers and mothers.
As we revert to the Constitution, we are told that, “Whereas Four hundred and eighty-one years ago the rediscovery of this Family of Islands, Rocks and Cays heralded the rebirth of the New World;
“And Whereas the People of this Family of Islands recognizing that the preservation of their Freedom will be guaranteed by a national commitment to Self-discipline, Industry, Loyalty, Unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the Rule of Law;
“Now Know Ye Therefore: We the Inheritors of and Successors to this Family of Islands, recognizing the Supremacy of God and believing in the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, Do Hereby Proclaim In Solemn Praise the Establishment of a Free and Democratic Sovereign Nation founded on Spiritual Values and in which no Man, Woman or Child shall ever be Slave or Bondsman to anyone or their Labour exploited or their Lives frustrated by deprivation, And Do Hereby Provide by these Articles for the indivisible Unity and Creation under God of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas…”
Would to God were more of our people sufficiently dedicated to nation-building that they would take these words to heart.
But even as we hope, we find ourselves becalmed in a mire of despond.
And as we interrogate the matter at hand, we are slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that some of the distress and [indeed] some of the drift we note now seem rooted in certain demographic trends now surfacing with a vengeance.
Evidently, one of the more interesting facts of life in today’s supposedly ‘modern’ Bahamas turns on the extent to which so very many strangers have made this urban-centered country their home.
Here we refer to that motley mix of Haitians, Jamaicans, Englishmen, Germans, and Americans and [of course] that crowd of Nigerians who work and live in The Bahamas.
These people are making a difference that promises to transform how we regard ourselves and how people around us see themselves as they become safely and deeply-rooted in this new land.
And so today we would suggest that there is probably only a clever few among this nation’s elite who would consider truly genuine some of the troubles very many so-called grass-roots Bahamians have with that motley crew of strangers who settle and work [sometimes illegally] in this country.
While some of these troubles are deeply rooted in the kind of mindless fear many people routinely have of strangers; the fact remains that most of the conflict between these people is grounded in an economy and social order that now seems to discriminate against Bahamians and [on occasion] in favor of these strangers.
This matter is compounded in another very interesting way.
This time around the matter at hand concerns the extent to which very many of those people who work and make their living here are – on occasion – contemptuous of the ways, values, mores and laws under-girding Bahamian civilization.
Indeed, they give every impression that they are only here because they can make an easy dollar, laugh at their unemployed Bahamian counterpart and otherwise enrich themselves and their families ‘back-home’.
Simply put, some Bahamians now understand that they are being taken for a ride; thus intermittent conflicts between Bahamians and any number of these strangers.
On occasion, there is also evidence of a kind of love-hate dynamic between some of these people as in the case of how some grass-roots Bahamians relate to their Haitian and Jamaican peers.
Of note is the fact that some Bahamians are now the direct result of this fervent re-mix that is now transforming Bahamian pedigree.
As a consequence some of our youth have taken to a hot embrace of Jamaican-born Rastafarianism.
In addition, many of them have also taken to ganja as if it was some royal road to bliss, wisdom and understanding; thus some of the troubles our youth routinely have with the authorities.
In conclusion then, this Bahamian reception of Rastafarianism also brings with it a profound anti-establishment ethic; thus leading to a sad, sad conclusion – forty years later very many of our youth are lost in a haze of Jamaican-grown ganja.
September 24, 2012 Jones Bahamas